Here's another story, told from the POV of a ten your old kid in his "Afterlife." He was killed, hit by a school bus one day, taken from his parents, and now he is struggling to find a way to get back down to earth and see his parents again before, well, something really horrifying happens to them. He is trying to save them before it's too late... I don't want to give everything away, though, of course not. Heh heh. There will probably be some grammatical issues, but that is completely intentional, because ten year olds, as we all know, do not have a perfect grasp on proper speech, grammar, structure, what have you.
I am willing to trade stories, anything 2,500 words or less. Let me know if you would like a read, either with this one, or the other story that I posted.
Thanks a million, everyone!
The afterlife really wasnít bad. I could do cool things like I did on earth. Come to think of it, the afterlife was like earth. It had cities and towns and airplanes. Cool, cool airplanes. I flew on an airplane every single day of my afterlife. Get it! Afterlife! Well, I thought it was funny. You donít have to laugh. Itís fine. I try to make friends here as much as I can, but it really is hard, believe me, for a kid like me to make friends with other kids my age. Come on, guys. Iím like ten. What ten year old dies? I know, itís really makes me sad. I can see my mommy and daddy everyday crying about me down on earth. I want to go back to them a lot, but the only way I can do that is if I promise not to be seen. Like, I'll go to that bad place if I'm seen.
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A ten-year-old protagonist with a dramatic complication of saving parents from a horrifying circumstance has promiswing appeals for early middle grade audiences and primary grade readers reading up in age. Developing introduction of that complication within one hundred thirty words seems to me essential for a short story in the twenty-five-hundred-word range. The bridging complication of difficulty making friends in the afterlife I think consumes word count that could be more artfully used to develop the main complication.
Auditors of what those age groups read tend to frown upon grammatical glitches. One grammatical glitch stands out as one most any reader would stumble over: "it's [it] really makes me sad." One grammatical glitch stands out that I don't think is apropos of a ten-year-old: "mommy and daddy everyday [every day] crying".
This doesn't really read to me like a ten-year-old voice. Adult idioms mixed with adult impressions of middle grade idioms doesn't get there for me. I think a closer voice would use expressly middle grade idioms. "Come to think of it," for example, is an adult idiom. //You know what?// is closer to a middle grade idiom. "Come on, guys." is an adult idiom. //Come on, you guys.// is closer to a middle grade idiom. "I'm like ten." is an adult impression of a middle grade idiom. //Like, I'm ten, you know.// or //Like, I'm ten, okay?// are closer to middle grade idioms.
This sentence's syntax is a little on the complex side for middle grade readers: "I try to make friends here as much as I can, but it really is hard, believe me, for a kid like me to make friends with other kids my age."
Use of "it" gives me pause as a reader of any age category genre. The pronoun is part of middle grade dialect; and awkward pronoun subject antecedent is also part of middle grade dialect. The writing principle on point, though, is use dialect sparingly and judiciously to give a flavor of the dialect but not so much the dialect calls undue attention to the dialect and slows or stalls reading ease and comprehension. Seven instances of "it" and contraction "it's" used to represent dialect features I think is a little heavy-handed.
This opening is also mostly a summarization and explanation lecture, a tell. Mixing the lecture in with scene painting specific details is more engaging for a middle grade audience.
The inside joke about the afterlife is a little too obscure. What, an allusion to a jet's afterburner? Frankly, I don't get it. Any reader will want to understand the joke's meaning in the moment of reading, even if the joke is a bad pun typical of ten-year-olds' joking.
The strongest phrase for me is: "I want to go back to them a lot". The tacked on predicate compliment "a lot" is the closest to a middle grade idiom and voice of the lot. However, the conjoined clause following blunts the voice using "but" followed by an adult reasoning. "But" is a word most any ten-year-old boy will either not use or can't help calling purient attention to. The second clause of the sentence, though, is adult voice. A ten-year-old voice idiom might think instead: //The only way they'll let me--I have to make a pinky swear, stick a needle in my eye promise to stay unseen.//
I'm curious how not being seen develops as a rule of the afterlife, its complications and its whys, hows, whats, and whos and wherefores.